Meet Just Between Friends’ New CFO Mike Breeze
Finance, business and franchising industry veteran joins Just Between Friends’ management team
Just Between Friends’ new Chief Financial Officer, Mike Breeze, is finishing up his first quarter as part of our management team. He comes to JBF with 25 years experience in finance and business growth.
We sat down with Breeze and talked about the potential he sees in Just Between Friends and what he offers franchisees in his position as CFO.
Q: What made you decide that you were a good fit for JBF?
A: When I take on work with a company, I want to make sure that I can see them growing. I attended the JBF annual conference with all the franchisees in January, and it was just great. I got a lot of one-on-one time with many of the franchisees and got to know what they were about. They’re all good-hearted people, really caring, willing to help each other out. It was an uplifting experience.
One of the things I enjoy about [JBF co-founder and CEO] Shannon Wilburn is that she has this natural ability and great philosophy that she wants all her franchisees to succeed. She treats her franchisees like clients. She looks at them as business partners. That really attracted me, because I have that same philosophy. If you treat your franchisees as clients or customers, and you build them up, then you’re all going to succeed together.
Q: What will your CFO role at Just Between Friends entail?
A: I’ll be looking at strategies around profitable growth and budgets, working on the business model, business affairs — those types of important things. We’re looking to develop a new technology platform for franchisees, and we’ve worked with a technical strategist consultant. Because of my software background, I’m really involved in the project, helping them figure out the best technology platform, how it’s going to help the business model and how it will save the franchisee time and money and be more convenient.
Q: Where do new owners need the most help and how will you provide it?
A: I think every franchise system struggles with ramping up new franchisees so they’re effective right away. They’re going to get training, but they need to work on the right strategies that will make them successful and not work on things that won’t.
The franchisees I met with at conference kept asking about how to get the most out of their venues and marketing. They also asked about how to understand their financials at the profit-and-loss level. They wanted to understand how to create a profit and what a profit actually is. They ask about the fundamentals, and we can help with all of that.
We’re here to be strategic, but we’ll help franchisees focus on the execution, as well.
Q: How will you implement strategies for franchisees and their businesses?
A: We’ll look at the business model to see how to generate efficiencies and generate more profit. We’ll look at ways to expand the system and make our strong franchisees stronger. For those who are working on getting started, we will find ways to help them get established.
We’ll meet with them periodically and train on how to financially run a business; we’ll share what we see most of our successful franchisees doing and figure out the best way to get that information to our other franchisees. If we see someone who needs extra help, then we will be there to help. Our goal is to help franchisees meet their goals.
Q: What makes JBF a unique franchise opportunity?
A: JBF is unique in the ability to generate a following of very loyal shoppers. It’s not like they have a brick-and-mortar location where people can go anytime. They do two events a year, generate huge crowds of people and provide a necessary service to those folks who are looking to find their consignment children’s clothing and items. Our franchisees create a large marketplace for people to come and sell their wares and gather the people to buy them that need them.
I think that is very powerful. It’s also an interesting business model. Most businesses you have to be working on every single day throughout the year. For JBF, though, it comes down to almost two weekends a year that you’re going to have for an individual market, and you’re going to generate enough sales and enough income for yourself to handle it within two weekends. Of course, there is a lot to do before that to get ready for these events, but it’s just interesting that it’s not an everyday, full-time job working with customers at all times.
Q: Why is now a great time to invest in a JBF franchise?
A: I think it’s one of the best times ever to invest in JBF. We have major initiatives going on to look at rolling out a new technology platform that is going to be automating things for them, making their work easier. We’re also going through a major marketing initiative right now that’s really streamlining the marketing, and looking at adding value to the franchisee. We want to make work easier for the franchisee — they won’t have to focus on technology or marketing. All they have to do is implement it.
The other big thing that’s happening is that there’s going to be a huge boom coming to this business. JBF’s main customer base is people who have children. The large generation of millennials are now starting families, and they are going to be the next wave of demand for what JBF offers.
Q: What JBF initiatives do you hope to roll out this year?
A: We’re really looking at our core services and what we can do to enhance them. Right now, we’re working on how we leverage the buying power of our network of 150+ franchisees.
Today there are so many franchisees that might do things as a one-off, but this effort is pulling this all together so we can get economies of scale with our buying. That could be buying billboards, advertisements, and so on. We want to be able to provide the best pricing to our franchisees and also give them access to other advertising mediums they may not be able to afford on their own.
Now is the time to join JBF
Just Between Friends (JBF) is the leading pop-up consignment sales event franchise in North America. From our beginnings in a Tulsa, Oklahoma, living room in 1997, the JBF brand has grown to 150+ franchises in the U.S. We are poised for rapid expansion in 2018.